What if we believed the things we celebrate at Easter?
This is one of the meditations I wrote for the annual Lenten meditations of Episcopal Relief & Development. This is the concluding meditation, for Easter Sunday.
It’s easy to miss the point of Easter. The truth is, the lilies, trumpets, dresses and beloved hymns usually don’t help us out. And don’t get me started on eggs. Amidst all the familiar and cherished traditions, we can lose sight of the simple and startling claim at the heart of Easter: a person who was dead came back to life.
So it is today. We say that Christ is risen. We say that Christ is present when the church gathers. But what does this mean for us? What would it be like if we really, truly believed the things we say on Easter Day?
Christ’s new life means that we are free. Death is just about the worst thing that can happen to us, and if we don’t need to be afraid of death, we don’t need to be afraid of anything. We are free to live as God calls us to live.
Christ’s new life means that God’s love is stronger than any evil in the world. All the forces of fear and evil lined up, and the worst they could do was crucify Jesus. But life and love got the last word. We know that God’s power is real.
Christ’s new life means that we can carry on God’s work. After Easter, Jesus dwelled with his followers for a time, and then charged them with continuing to be his hands and feet in the world. We reach out to heal the world in Christ’s name, not through our own strength, but through God’s strength. We do all these things not to get on God’s good side, but because we already are on God’s good side. We do all things not to please God, but in celebration of what God has done for us.
What does an Easter faith look like? It looks like the truth that Martin Luther King, Jr., preached. It looks like the reconciling love that began bringing justice to South Africa. It looks like the selfless love that brings mission workers to developing countries. It looks like generosity when those of us with financial riches share what we have for the good of the world.
This Easter season, let us all live fearlessly, as if we believed the things we say. Let us go forth in the name of Christ! Alleluia! Alleluia!
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